Author: Daniel Strain

Outside Corporate Borders: Training Students in the Growing Field of Corporate Social Responsibility

The summer after her first year in college, Jessica Smith traveled back to her parents’ home in Wyoming and got a job at a coal mine. She sprayed down mining equipment with a fire hose and drove a haul truck. A Wyoming native, Smith grew up immersed in the mining industry. Her father was a mining mechanic, and her grandfather had served as chief of operations for a uranium mine. But Smith had also just taken her first anthropology class at Macalester College in Minnesota, so when she returned to coal country that summer, she began to observe the mining community the way a scholar would. “The whole...

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Cleaning Up the Past

Jeff Graves ’13 is a self-styled history buff who is fascinated by Colorado’s early mining industry—and by the colorful frontiersmen who, he says, achieved incredible feats of engineering in their hunt for gold and silver. But as a geological engineer, Graves is also grappling with another legacy of mining in Colorado: its environmental toll. Across the state, many old mines leach heavy metals like zinc and copper into nearby streams and rivers through a process called acid mine drainage. Graves, a senior project manager in the Colorado Department of Natural Resource’s Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, is leading an effort to halt the flow of pollution from...

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When Mountains Collapse: Mines Researchers and the Colorado Geological Survey Team Up to Analyze Landslide Risk in Colorado

The landslide that collapsed near the Rio Chama River in southern Colorado put the old riddle that begins with “if a tree falls in the forest…” to its extreme test. At some point, likely in spring 2004, a mass of rocks and earth crashed down a stretch of the San Juan Mountains, falling almost 1,200 feet to the meadow below. The debris scattered over a track roughly half a mile long, knocking down trees and leaving behind stumps, some of which today point in the direction of the slide. The tumult would have been deafening. But, as with the proverbial tree that fell in the forest, no one was around...

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Current Issue: Spring 2018

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